A cardiac catheterization lab nurse is a nursing professional and patient-care specialist who works in the cardiac catheterization lab - the examination area of the hospital that specializes in procedures which allow physicians to visualize certain aspects of the heart. These specialists care for patients who have cardiac catheterization for various reasons like heart defects, heart disease, and others. Although their role can vary, the primary task of the cardiac cath lab nurse is to assist the cardiac interventionist and the team of healthcare professionals in performing catheterization as well as monitoring and examining the patient before, during, and after the procedure. They also assist in the diagnosis and treatment of myocardial infarctions (i.e. heart attacks) which generally includes placing stents to coronary arteries.
Some common duties that cardiac cath lab nurses are tasked with will include:
Cardiac cath lab nurses generally find work in cardiac cath labs. These can be found in the following settings:
Cardiac cath lab nurse aspirants must first earn an RN degree and become licensed Prospective cardiac cath lab nurses are advised to gain a substantial amount of experience in either the cardiac unit or the intensive care unit of a hospital. In the case that there's a major cardiac hospital or trauma hospital close to your area, consider looking for positions there. Lastly, after accumulating a good amount of experience, cardiac cath lab nurses should look to forge strong working relationships with cardiologists or cardiac intensivists (or both). Once this has been achieved, nurses will have a much easier transition into the cath lab.
To become a cardiac catheterization lab nurse, the following educational requirements must be met:
Yes, cardiac cath lab nurses are required to hold RN licenses and should also have an extensive amount of post-licensure training. An ADN or BSN degree will be required, with preference given to BSN-educated nurses.
To be a competitive candidate for a cardiac cath lab nursing position, individuals should pursue the Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification (RN-BC) certification which is available via the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). To be eligible for this certification individuals will need to have fulfilled the following requirements prior to applying:
*Certifications must be renewed every five years
*Other certifications that are suggested for cardiac cath lab nurses include Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and the Critical Care Registered Nursing Credentials (CCRN).
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men. This fact, mixed with the highly specialized nature of cardiac cath lab nursing work, results in extraordinarily high demand for these nurses throughout the country.
According to PayScale, the average yearly base salary for cardiac cath lab nurses is $73,950. In addition to a base salary, cardiac cath lab nurses can expect to receive employee benefits packages which typically include things like medical insurance, annual allotments of sick leave and/or paid time-off, retirement plans, and more. Salaries and benefits will vary based on location and employer. Other factors that will influence the earning potential of cardiac cath lab nurses is the amount of clinical experience in the field that they have, their education levels, and certifications held.